Independent Record: Majority doesn’t support border bill

In the name of homeland security and protecting the country’s borders — all of them, not just those across Montana’s northern tier — Rep. Denny Rehberg has lent his support to the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, bill that would give U.S. Custom and Border Protection the ability to build roads, put up fences, install surveillance equipment and deploy “forward operating bases” on public lands managed by the departments of Interior and Agriculture, which includes national parks, national forests and BLM land, within 100 miles of the national border.

Backers of the bill say it would give border patrols the access they need to those public acres to ensure that people aren’t making their way into the United States on lands where currently such enforcement is limited.

Critics point to the list of federal laws the bill would waive — including the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act and a host of others — as well as the proposal’s 100-mile reach from the border and claim it’s an unnecessary intrusion on many public lands that are supposed to remain wild.

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